35 Lost Hopes and Renewal of Faith
Ji Lingfeng, Ding Yunzi, Nangong Le and the rest of the group returned to the small city to search for Yi Ping. However they could find no trace of either Yi Ping, the Celestial Envoy or Yuan Shao except for blood strains across the streets.
Among the group, Ji Lingfeng, Shui Meijian and Yujian were the swiftest of the group. They quickly swept the area for Yi Ping, the Celestial Envoy and Yuan Shao.
It was as though Yuan Shao had never appeared.
Gongsun Jing said, "Maybe Yi Ping isn't dead yet. At least we have not found his body yet."
Qiu Wufeng said, "We did not find the Celestial Envoy either. That is worrying…"
Ji Lingfeng was silent. She was now getting anxious as she asked herself, "Where did Yi Ping, the Celestial Envoy and Yuan Shao go to?"
She was naturally not eager to fight Yuan Shao but as long as he was still in the vicinity, they were all in danger.
Unknown to the rest of the group, Ding Yunzi had silently left them.
Her long hair was in disheveled and her tears had long dried up.
Unlike the rest of the group, she did not harbor any illusions that they could be able to find Yi Ping alive. She knew how dangerous Yuan Shao was. In fact, he was Xiao Shuai's benevolent master and it was him that had helped him to become the clan protégé master of the Virtuous Palace thirty years ago.
Deep in her heart, Yi Ping was as good as dead and that he had already sacrificed himself so that Zuo Tianyi and she could make their escape.
She held her dedicate trembling hands to her heart, "Yi Ping, you have saved me but do you know that for me it is a fate that is worse than death? Do you know that I will rather die now? Tianyi, you have shamed me in front of others. I despise you and curse you unto death."
She had even said to Lie Qing, "I know that you need my Divine Virtuous Force to recover fully and that without you, our group cannot hope to even escape from Yuan Shao…"
But Lie Qing simply walked away without saying a word!
This beautiful, appealing and demure young maiden laughed heartily for the last time as she looked at the stars above before she jumped down from the top of the cliff to the bottomless mist below as she said, "Youxue, I have come to join you…Yi Ping, I too have come to join you…"
Ding Yunzi was calm towards her imminent death.
She had fallen through the mist and had plunged into the cold icy waters!
As she began to choke and unable to breathe, a strong hand gripped her and brought her up to the surface!
She opened her eyes and to her utter surprise, it was Yi Ping!
Yi Ping shouted hastily, "Yunzi, are you alright? Who is so vicious as to push you down?"
Ding Yunzi coughed out the swallowed water as she cried sorrowfully in his embrace.
She cried melancholy, "Yi Ping, you are still alive. That's too good to be true. I thought that you are dead…"
Yi Ping said, "Yunzi, you are safe now. I have seen a shadowy figure plunging down and didn't know it is you. Tell me, who push you down? Is Tianyi and the rest safe?"
Ding Yunzi gripped Yi Ping hard and sunk her fingernails into his back, "Yi Ping, please don't mention Tianyi in front of me anymore."
All of a sudden, she was inconsolable and was wailing.
"Are the two of you enjoying a lover's bath together? How shameless! How dare you seduce my man, humph!"
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Ding Yunzi was startled and looked out only to see an elegant maiden in red dress looking at her sternly. What was astonishing about her was that she had the same crimson eyes as Lie Qing except for her long silver hair.
Yi Ping said, "Lele, she is Ding Yunzi. She is a friend of mine."
Lele said, "Oh? A friend or a dear friend of yours? Why is she holding so tightly to you then?"
Ding Yunzi asked, "Who is she?"
Yi Ping said, "She is Lele. She saved my life…"
Ding Yunzi gasped, "Is she the Celestial Envoy? She is so young…"
Lele raised her eyebrows as she said coolly, "I am older than what you think and see."
Ding Yunzi nodded quietly as she said, "Thank you!"
Lele was startled, "Why are you thanking me for? Did you not hear that I have just scolded you?"
Ding Yunzi said softly, "Thank you for saving Yi Ping. I didn't expect anyone will be able to save Yi Ping from the hands of Yuan Shao. Your martial skills are really impressive. You have defeated Yuan Shao?"
Lele looked away, "No, I am the one that has lost but I swear that I will return him ten times the favor for injuring me."
Yi Ping said gently to Ding Yunzi, "Yunzi, your injuries are not light. Are you painful? Who push you down?"
Ding Yunzi stared blankly for a while before she said, "No one pushes me down. I don't want to live anymore."
Yi Ping was startled, "Yunzi, what has happened?!"
Even Lele was startled as she thought, "What can possibly cause such an attractive maiden to end her life just like this unless the setback that she has suffered is so excessing?"
She looked at Yi Ping and then at Ding Yunzi.
All of a sudden, she had noticed that Ding Yunzi's eyes had never left Yi Ping.
She thought, "Can it be that she jumped down because she thought that Yi Ping is dead?"
Ding Yunzi had noticed that Lele's eyes were filled with jealousy and even her words were stinging. Without a doubt, this Celestial Envoy seemed fond of Yi Ping.
She sighed, "Yi Ping, there are simply too many distinguished maidens around you. Unlike those courageous maidens that dare to profess their intents, I dare not even tell others about my past, nor do I dare to share my feelings with them. Is that why I must suffer the same fate as Youxue?"
Ding Yunzi said coldly, "I didn't jump down because I think that Yi Ping is dead. In fact, his life and death means nothing to me so you don't have to worry about us. Moreover, he is my clan protégé master. I jump down because I have lost my will to live…
Lele said coldly, "Do you think that I will believe you so easily? Go on and tell me a good reason or else I will never believe you. If you lie to me, be prepare to lose your tongue…"
Yi Ping said unhappily, "Lele, you are getting ruder. Yunzi is my friend…"
Lele said coldly, "I am your wife now and the two of you are holding one another just now. As your wife, do you think that I do not have the right to ask huh?"
Ding Yunzi was startled as she thought, "She is his wife? They only met for just a few hours…"
But she answered bravely even though she could not hold back her silent tears anymore, "I.. I have been violated. Are you happy now?"
Yi Ping and Lele were both stunned.
Yi Ping clenched his fists as he asked angrily, "Yunzi, tell me please. Who did it? I will kill him…"
Ding Yunzi said slowly, "Zuo Tianyi."
Yi Ping was stunned. He did not expected Ding Yunzi to have such a sad past and he did not expect Zuo Tianyi to do such a bestial act. He muttered, "Tianyi, how can you do such a beastly thing?!"
Ding Yunzi sobbed, "So all of you know it now. I am too ashamed to live now and I cannot face anyone now."
All of a sudden, Ding Yunzi took out her foldable sword from around her waist to slice her throat. Even though she was extremely quick, both Yi Ping and Lele reacted even faster and knocked the sword from her hands!
Yi Ping caught hold of her hands, "Yunzi, I do not despise you. In fact, I admire your swordplay and your intelligence a lot. I will readdress your honor for you, alright?"
Lele was upset at Ding Yunzi's plight as she had always despised despicable men so she interrupted, "Good sister, if Yi Ping is unable to, I will surely help you! Please don't take your life anymore."
Ding Yunzi sobbed, "It is pointless for me anymore. I have nothing left for me to live on anymore. My life is ruined. The one that I could trust has also betrayed me and hurt me. If you are me, what would you do?"
Lele was stunned.
Yi Ping held Ding Yunzi's hands as he said emotionally, "Yunzi, you still have me. I will take care of you forever. I will not allow anyone to bully you, whether it is now or in the future."
Ding Yunzi shook her head sadly, "You are only taking pity on me. So what if you are willing to take care of me? I am still destined to be alone even when I am old. What happens if you are not around anymore? I won't even have any children to take care of me. Everyone else knows that I have been violated and will be scorning me. So what is the point?"
Yi Ping grabbed Ding Yunzi's hand and grabbed Lele's hand at the same time as he said, "Yunzi, I do not despise you. If you are willing, I will take you as my wife. Whoever scorns at you is as good as scorning me. I will take care of you and we will have many children."
Ding Yunzi gasped, "You don't despise me?"
Yi Ping looked earnest at Ding Yunzi, "Never. That day in the Honor Manor, if you did not break the fight between Zuo Tianyi and I, we would have both died. If you have not appeared, Gongsun Bai would have killed me."
He paused for a while, "I should be the one to ask if you are despising me for being such a muddle-headed person. I have let down Lingfeng, Youxue, Mei'Er and Yu'Er. Alas…"
Ding Yunzi said quietly, "You don't need to ask this Maiden Lele here?"
Lele said coolly, "Indeed! Yi Ping, you didn't ask me if I am willing…"
Yi Ping said awkwardly, "You are still in the mood to tease me. I have told you about the rest and you say you do not mind."
Lele smiled, "That is why I am the Joyful Goddess. But you really did not tell me about this Maiden Yunzi here."
She said gently to Ding Yunzi, "Good sister, welcome to the family. I am only making a light joke with Yi Ping. I will avenge your honor for you."
Ding Yunzi gasped, "Both of you…."
She looked at Yi Ping as she said, "I didn't say I like you. I am not as foolish as Youxue and all those lovelorn maidens."
Lele smiled merrily, "So you are saying you are unwilling to marry Yi Ping, am I not wrong to say so? Alas, that is too unfortunately for us. I thought that I am going to have a good sister. That is really so sad. Yi Ping, Maiden Yunzi says she is not willing to marry you…"
Ding Yunzi flustered as she said hastily, "I didn't say I am not going to marry him…"
Lele laughed softly, "So you are willing then?"
Ding Yunzi fell into Lele's embrace as she said shyly, "Good sister!"
Lele held her as she said, "My good sister!"
Ding Yunzi said, "From now on, my name is Ding Yun. Ding Yunzi is now dead."
Yi Ping nodded as he said, "The past is past. Don't dwell on it anymore."
Ding Yun said softly, "Ping, I have something very important to tell you."
Yi Ping said gently, "Take a rest first. You ought to rest first. Come, let me lend you a hand."
Ding Yun shook her head as she said, "It is really very important."
Yi Ping asked, "What can be so important that it cannot wait?"
Ding Yun answered, "We have seen the Celestial Fairy much earlier. She is still alive…"
Even Lele was startled as she thought, "Yi Ping's first wife is still alive?!"
Yi Ping was stunned as he asked emotionally, "Yixian, she is…she is still alive?! How is it possible? I witness her death with my own eyes and it is…Youxue….alas, Youxue kills her…"
Ding Yun said, "It is the truth. We had even fought briefly. Lie Qing and Youxue's injuries are all caused by the Celestial Fairy."
Yi Ping was startled, "Youxue…is she well now? Is Yixian alright?"
He was suddenly terrified. It was because if Shui Yixian had recognized Xiao Youxue as the one that attacked her, then there was bound to be a deadly fight."
Ding Yun replied, "The Celestial Fairy is fine but the same can't be said for Youxue."
Yi Ping was now panicky because Xiao Youxue did not return after she had left. He asked hurriedly, "Youxue, is she well?"
Ding Yun shook her head as she said, "She is gravely injured and in critical condition. I don't even know if she is able to pull through. In her most critical moment, Lie Qing had sacrificed half of her Invincible Divine Force to Youxue to keep her alive…"
Indeed, it was the same Invincible Divine Force that had kept Lie Qing alive while she entered the state of animated dead.
Because Xiao Youxue too had practiced the Golden Impervious Body, at the most crucial moment Lie Qing decided to send her into the state of animated dead by transferring her Invincible Divine Force intricate energy to Xiao Youxue.
It was also at the same time that Shui Yixian decided to bring back Xiao Youxue to the Eternal Ice Palace so that she could find a way to treat and revive her.
Yi Ping was stunned as he muttered, "Youxue, this is all my fault…if we have not quarrel, this could not have happened to you. Lie Qing, you are willing to give up your internal strength…I really owe you so much…"
While Yi Ping and Ding Yun were feeling inconsolable, they had failed to notice that Lele expressions had changed at the mention of Lie Qing and the Invincible Divine Force.